Frogs can be very useful in the garden eating more than their share of slugs. On a warm day from February onward frogs and toads will emerge from hibernation, mate and lay eggs as spawn. Do not worry about too much spawns as one frog will lay up to 2000 eggs of which only half a dozen become adult frogs. If you get far too much spawn so that it is chocking the top of the pond you can transfer some to a bowl so you can watch the tadpoles develop over the next 6 weeks or so. Transferring spawn to another pond may transfer disease or unwanted plants. Toadspawn is formed in long strings rather than the clumped or bunched frogspawn. Newts put there spawn on the underside of leaves.
Bokashi, Japanese composting, is really a fermenting system. It converts your household food waste into a liquid and food remnants that are ripe for final composting. Ripe isn’t a fair word as it smells only of sweet pickle.
An additive of a lactic acid based micro organisms in a bran carrier is mixed with the food waste in an airtight bin and a culture like a ginger beer plant is created. These microbes include lactobacillus bacteria, phototrophic bacteria and yeast. The fermenting process takes a couple of weeks then the residue can be added to a compost heap or buried even though it can still retain some food colour and shape for a further 4-6 weeks. The liquid can be diluted with water 1:100 as a fertiliser.
Adding bran inoculated with organisms can be an extra expense and it seems hard to find a supplier
Adding soil and worms to a normal compost heap achieves similar results.
The ability to ‘compost’ meat and other food waste is the main plus
The two stage process is a bit of a minus
A two bin system makes it easier to switch from food collection to maturation
Whilst this may be a bid of a fad it encourages a ‘good green routine‘ and is worth a try.
Autumn is a good time to plant a green manure crop in your empty vegetable plot. Green manures are sown deliberately to be dug back into the soil before they flower. This helps improve fertility, suppress weeds, stop leaching and soil errosion and helps condition the soil.
Empty Plot Tips
Clear up debris and weeds and make the plot tidy.
Test soil and add lime to prevent it becoming too acid and reducing future crops.
Leave pea and bean roots to rot down.
If soil is heavy dig and leave large clumps for the frost to break down
Replan paths and cropp rotation for next year. Do not walk on wet ground.
Did you buy an extra water butt or irrigation system expecting a hot summer? Have you planted a Mediterranean garden of hot dry-condition loving flowers? Well this summer in England we have had ‘Global Watering’ not global warming.
A bog garden would have been more appropriate. Moisture lovers have thrived and that means numerous weeds. Shrubs and hedges have put on more growth than normal and need pruning back but the ground is too soggy to work on.
The good news is the Apples and Runner Beans are producing great crops at the moment.
At this time of year we find wasps munching on our ripening Plums and Apples. They are not the main villain as they only attack fruit that is already damaged by birds or other insects. Their mouths are not strong enough to break the skin. Wasps help in a garden as the larvae feed on aphids and caterpillars.
Woodlice are generally seen as scavengers who eat rotting matter, they are not thought of as harmful to the garden. However, they do chew leaves and stems of tomatoes and cucumber in the greenhouse. Keep areas clear of any debris. Recycle woodlice you capture on to the compost heap.
Earwigs look worse than the bites they take out of plants. Whilst Dahlia and Chrysanthemum plants may be a bit chewed and ragged they will not come to great harm unless you are growing show blooms.
Again Earwigs feed their newly hatched young on aphids and other small insects. To catch these night feeders use the inverted plant pot on a cane method with the pot filled with straw or well crumpled newspaper.
Birds, frogs and toads that prey on earwigs will help reduce the population of earwigs and keep it under control.